Richard Rutherford

In loving memory of Richard Rutherford, F.R.C.V.S. died 7th January 1915; his eldest son Major Richard Rutherford, R.A.M.C. died 12th January 1921; Christina Gladstone Baillie died 14th December 1925; his widow Agnes Taylor Baillie died 16th March 1926; May Callender Campbell died 2nd April 1932.

CWGC: Major R B Rutherford, M.B., Royal Army Medical Corps, d. 12 Jan. 1921;  W 585 

The CWGC record is the only reference to Richard Rutherford as R. B. Rutherford and may have resulted from confusion with another doctor, Robert Bryson Rutherford, who also served in the RAMC during WW1, died on 28 May 1940, aged 49, and is buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery.

Richard Rutherford was born in Edinburgh on 19 March 1877, the elder son of Richard Rutherford (1839-1915) and his wife Agnes Taylor Baillie (1855-1926).  Richard Rutherford senior was a well-known Edinburgh veterinary surgeon. 

Richard and his younger brother, Zerub Baillie Rutherford (1880-1959), attended Edinburgh Academy where Richard won the Ferguson Medal for Mathematics in 1893 (as another of our CWGC men, Patrick Grant Thomson, was also to do in 1912).  Richard then went on to Edinburgh University to study medicine.  He enlisted in the R.A.M.C. while still a medical student and served in South Africa between March and October 1900.  He was discharged in December 1900 and returned to Edinburgh to complete his degree, graduating in 1901.  He then re-joined the RAMC, possibly returning to South Africa.  In 1903 he sailed for Bombay where he was stationed in 1908 but by the 1911 census he was based in Singapore.  Army lists show him progressing up the ranks in the RAMC:  Lieutenant (seniority date 1 September 1902), Captain (1 March 1906) and Major (March 1914).  

Zerub Baillie Rutherford meantime followed in their father’s footsteps and became a veterinary surgeon, first in Edinburgh in partnership with his father and then in Hampshire after their partnership was dissolved in 1912.  Zerub had been named for his maternal grandfather, Zerub Baillie (1818-83), who had moved to Edinburgh from Berwickshire and become a successful provision merchant.  Zerub Baillie’s elder brother William Baillie (1806-58) settled in Fountainhall near Stow and by 1851 was a clothier employing 5 tailors.  William died in Edinburgh and is also buried in the Grange. William’s son, another Zerub Baillie (1830-65), became a missionary in Africa and married Mary Marshall Cowan (c.1834-1862), whose brother John was the father of another of our CWGC servicemen, William Morrison Cowan (q.v.).

After war broke out in August 1914 Richard Rutherford was among the troops who landed in France on 15 September 1914.  He followed this with service in the Dardanelles (1915), Egypt (1916) and India (1917-18), and was awarded the 1914 Star together with the British War and Victory Medals.  Zerub served in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps as a Lieutenant (1915) and Captain (1918).  When their father died on 7 January 1915, aged 74, the Scotsman’s obituary of him mentioned that Richard was a Major in the R.A.M.C. and had been invalided home, presumably as a result of his service at Gallipoli.  After the war Richard served in Burma.  He died in Cheltenham on 12 January 1921 from influenza and heart failure and was buried in the Grange Cemetery on 17 January.

Edinburgh Academy Register 1824-1914 & War Supplement (

The Scotsman, 8 Jan. 1915